Sònia Cervantes: interview with the psychologist of Big Brother
Sonia Cervantes She is especially known for her role in the television program Hermano Mayor, in which she oriented young people with problems when interacting with others and their families.
But beyond his mediatic facet (that is not limited to his appearances in said program) Sònia is, fundamentally, a psychologist and therapist .
Meeting with Sònia Cervantes, psychologist and writer
This facet of his, which has to do with the curiosity to understand the functioning of the human mind, has not only been born his professional career as a psychologist, but also, today, two books: Live with a teenager and live or survive ? The latter has been published recently, and through this interview with Sònia We intend to explore some of the ideas that have shaped the content of your pages .
Adrián Triglia: If you had to put a single example that captured the difference between "live" and "survive", what would it be?
Sonia Cervantes: Surviving means going to the same restaurant every day, with the same menu and even with the probability that you will feel bad again because sometimes the dishes are not completely healthy; but you have it close to home and it's the only thing you know. Surviving involves trying different restaurants, changing the menu, dare to try new flavors at the risk of one of them you do not like and decide daily which of them you want more. Leave the comfort zone. That it is not wrong, or even that it is wrong but is what there is and what is known, does not mean that it is right.
A.T .: What kind of experiences that you have lived in your practice do you think have influenced you more when writing the book?
S.C .: All those in which the people before him made a great effort to try not to suffer and paradoxically have ended up suffering. The most dangerous triad: thinking too much, a dependent profile with low self-esteem and an avoidant personality pattern. The Molotov cocktail to end up suffering uselessly because it is not productive suffering but quite the opposite, blocking and paralyzing.
A.T .: In your book you also point out that attention can make us "stuck" thinking constantly about the possible negative consequences of our actions. What do you think are the keys to solve this?
S.C .: Live here and now without becoming persistent fortune tellers of future misfortunes. Leaving to live in Ysilandia. And if I'm wrong? And if I get it wrong? And if I fail? ... I would say: What if it goes well? Or better yet And if it happens, what will you do? It is the eternal struggle between coping and avoidance. Anticipatory anxiety, far from preparing for the worst (something we have always been told) puts us in the worst situation: in survival mode.
A.T .: There are several elements that are usually linked to compliance and perpetual permanence in what is known as a comfort zone. For example, procrastination, or the tendency to think that everything bad that happens can not be controlled or avoided. What would you say is more harmful?
S.C .: Both since they anchor you to inactivity and suffering. If you made a list of your top 10 fears, 9 of them would never happen. The non reality that you mount in your head is much worse than the existing reality, if there is that movie that you have formed. If it is in your hands to change, get down to work; If it is not, accept the situation or change the attitude you face. Do not expect things to happen, make them happen but do not build realities that have not happened yet. When they come, you'll take care of it.
A.T .: In the book you also talk about toxic relationships. Do you think this is basically a problem of how you are educating yourself inside and outside of schools?
S.C .: Almost everything has its origin in no education or bad education and at the same time almost everything has its solution in education or reeducation. I think we educate everyone: school, family and society. Not all responsibility can fall on the school context. The growing presence of toxic relationships in children under 18 has been growing alarmingly and exponentially in recent years. Something we must be doing wrong so that the generation with more access to information in the history of humanity and with more education in equality is retreating to macho behavior typical of 60 or 70 years ago. Overprotection, the misuse of social networks and certain social referents of what a relationship should be are making a dent in this generation. We are encouraging insecure, dependent profiles with low self-esteem that will easily fall into toxic relationships.
A.T .: The passive attitude that you point out as an element that stagnates us in our way of living life can be reinforced by distractions. Do you think that the use of the Internet, with all the information that can be found through the network, makes it easier for people to find new goals and hobbies that produce well-being? Or does it tend to be used as a distraction to kill time, rather?
S.C .: An excess of information can become an authentic infoxication. We are highly stimulated and bombarded daily but it is also in our hands to disconnect more often. It is not social networks or the fact that there is internet the cause of the problem, it is the misuse or overuse that we make of it all. We should learn to put the off daily from a certain time and devote ourselves to other activities and relate to those around us. Doing "cleaning" of phone and devices is not bad either. Does the world end if we remove the WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter application from our devices? No way. We can call those who whatsapeamos and we can consult our profiles on the networks from the tablet or computer, without having to take them on the mobile phone 24 hours a day. Try it for a week and then decide if you want to continue chained to your smartphone or not.
A.T .: What do you think about that aspect of psychology that has been called "positive psychology"? To what extent do you think it can be useful?
SC: It is clear that the key to our well-being and also to our psychological discomfort, in the absence of highly stressful events that can explain it, is in our thoughts and in our way of interpreting reality, because even in bad times, not everyone respond in the same way. It is true that positive our mind has very beneficial effects on our emotions and our body in general; but an excess of positivism can also be harmful. I do not like to sell smoke or the bike with phrases like "you must be happy", "nothing happens, think positive" because it is not always possible. We must learn to be bad, to deal with suffering and to accept our mental storms always with the commitment to change. Acceptance without commitment is resignation. It is useful what helps us to face suffering, not to avoid it or to show that nothing happens.
8. There are strong criticisms directed against the philosophy of positive thoughts, and one of them has to do with the idea that, if we believe that our experiences depend basically on our way of thinking, if we feel bad it will be our fault as individuals . Do you think that in certain contexts optimism can be harmful?
S.C .: We are not only what we think, not even what we feel or what we do. We are the set of all this plus the experiences lived. The reductionism that everything is in our thinking can have the paradoxical effect of becoming hyperreflective, obsessive and generating a great sense of guilt. Yes it is true that our way of processing information can be a source of wellbeing or suffering, I do not deny that but it is also true that we should see ourselves as something global, accept our weaknesses and stop trying to be happy to seek to be as happy as possible throughout our day to day. We have the right to be sad, to get angry, to complain, to be grumpy and even to have negative thoughts.
A.T .: Many people who devote themselves directly or indirectly to psychology believe that the role of psychologists is mythologized. What do you think is due?
S.C .: I do not share that opinion but if that is the case it may be due to many years of indoctrination by certain professionals instead of the accompaniment and reeducation that a patient needs. There is a lot of "guru" and prophet in this profession who are deified, seriously harming the profession in particular and their patients in general. We should not tell people what they should do, we should make them reflect on what they do and give them tools if they commit to making changes in their lives. Search three fundamental things: Self-knowledge, acceptance and commitment. Let's not forget that a psychologist is another person who also suffers and is sad. He only plays with one advantage: he knows tools to be able to finish or at least deal with that suffering. Or maybe a dentist can not have cavities?